Queenstown rents are far dearer than New Zealand as a whole yet rental managers claim our official figures are understated.
Latest statistics for July-December 2011 from the Department of Building & Housing put Queenstown rents at between nine and 30 per cent higher than the national averages.
But you ain’t seen nothing yet, local property managers tell Mountain Scene.
“I think local rents are a bit higher than [official stats],” Ray White property manager Beth Chisholm says.
Veteran Hayley Stevenson of Housemart agrees: “Those official figures certainly aren’t the top dollar that we’re getting.”
Doug MacGillivray of Resort Property Rentals and Keith Hibbs of Executive Accommodation also concur about hikes ahead.
MacGillivray says rising rentals are being seen right across the country – not just in Queenstown – and official stats for 2011 may already be outdated.
Hibbs says: “We’ve been flat out, we’re ahead of last January, I think it’s looking very good for this year.”
Chisholm reels off rents for “your average three-bedroom house” of $450-$550 – markedly higher than official figures.
“Your $450 would be in perhaps Fernhill, $550 in Lake Hayes Estate, $500-$550 at Frankton,” she says.
Chisholm and MacGillivray also fear reductions in available properties as first-home buyers snap up former rental houses.
This is partly because of a 21 per cent reduction in new-home consents last year, MacGillivray notes.
“We could find we’ve got a little bit of a shortage [of rental properties].”
Mountain Scene asked all four agents to gaze into their crystal balls.
Chisholm predicts more movement upwards in rents: “It’s always a demand and supply thing – demand might be a bit higher.”
Stevenson quantifies her prediction for rent hikes: “We might see five to 10 per cent.”
MacGillivray’s more circumspect: “Good-quality homes are always going to rent and you can get some good prices – definitely.”
Hibbs is downright bullish: “I believe winter will be great, coming off a very good winter last year.”
Rents may go up a little bit in central Queenstown and around Frankton but not a lot, he thinks.
“It’s best to have a really good tenant rather than a lot of movement in the rent,” Hibbs cautions.